The trash talk earlier this week made me think of trolls on the internet. Happily I haven’t encountered any troll comments on my blog or or many heinous troll comments the sustainability blogs I visit. This may just be because they are not big or are well monitored. But, I suspect it might be that this trollish element isn’t that interested (so many white women talking about home and children, a fundamentalist’s dream come true). It may also be they have not been recruited. Progressive blogs sometimes feel like swarms of trolls are directed towards certain topics or attitudes – gay marriage, feminism, etc.
The trolls I have spotted tend to be ‘concern’ trolls. The comment may have the wording of aggreement, but the intent is to negate or refute by being 'helpful'. I have seen and read various insights into trolls, their methods and how to deal with them. I'd planned to share several today. The Cox Internet technician came today for the second time and still will need to come again. It's a puzzle. Since my internet connection is on the fritz, I have to abbreviate what I’d planned. I might be able to come back later. We shall see.
This advice via Atrios struck me as true.
I cannot make anyone stop responding to pointless or nuisance comments. You have to want to restrain yourself, because you understand that the only way to get rid of them is to fail to give them the attention they want. A "troll" is not just someone whose comments you disagree with, or even just a nasty or badly-worded comment. A troll is someone who does not, under any possible set of circumstances, care what you think about him or his comments. He merely wants attention. Negative attention will do. The more you disagree with him, the more he is able to tell himself that he is persecuted and victimized or the only voice of reason or one of the elite few who has the God's-eye view of the world or whatever his current delusion is. If he isn't merely a narcissist who thrives on feeling attacked, he's just some putz who enjoys irritating other people. Therefore, you "feed" the troll by paying any attention to him at all. It does not matter what you say in response. Any response to a troll just encourages the troll.
Besides classic trolls, we have a few resident long-winded bores who believe that the rest of us have never been exposed to some trite, shallow, bombastic rant they just heard on the radio or read in Reader's Digest or saw in a vision, and feel compelled to share with the rest of us. These people lack any possible sense of context or audience; they are incapable of noticing that the bulk of our commenting community has been exposed to the world for a while now and is not interested in any comment that starts "there is one simple answer to this the rest of you aren't getting." It does you no good to respond to this type either; they'll just re-write the same comment again, at the same length, saying the same thing, until you "get it." They are bores with no self-awareness. The cool thing about the internet is that you can just scroll down to the next comment without being "rude." So take advantage of the medium.
Internet Troll Image